CBS and Sears to Broadcast NCAA Men's Basketball Games in HDTV

Sears, Roebuck and Co., a retailer of HDTVs, is sponsoring CBS' HDTV coverage of the 2002 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.

CBS will offer HD coverage of the Final Four for the third straight year, but this year coverage was expanded to include first-round games at the MCI Center in Washington D.C. and regional games in Lexington, Ky., on March 21 and 23. The first eight games are regionalized broadcasts, and the regional final, national semifinal games and national championship will be national games.

The broadcasts, presented live by CBS Sports, are "unified" productions - produced in HDTV 1080i and converted for analog broadcast coverage. This also produces a better analog picture. Whether using a wide-screen HD or 4 x 3 analog, viewers get the same camera angles, replays and graphics.

Sears hopes to use its sponsorship of the coverage to educate more consumers about the "benefits HDTV offers," said an official.